Arsenal 3 – 0 West Ham (38 Predictions)
Arsenal 2 – 0 West Ham (11 Predictions)
Arsenal 3 – 1 West Ham (4 Predictions)
I know predictions are more emotional than reason but the details above show how Arsenal fans that play our predictions league thought the game against West Ham last week would go. How did you think the game would go yourself? Scratch the fact that they all predicted easy wins for Arsenal, only four fans even thought we would concede. Concede we did and twice for that matter.
With loses I always look for a bucket to keep it in and I have four type of loss buckets.
- We stood no chance bucket (I use this mostly for Champions League knockout stages when we have thrown away the first leg)
- The mental block bucket (Away to big teams in the league, hopefully I will use this less)
- The bad day at the office bucket (games where we do everything to win, deserve to win and it just doesn’t come)
- The fluke defeat bucket (for games like the loss to West Ham)
This is not to undermine the work done by West Ham to get the win but I am not going to have a meltdown over our loss to a team that nine out of ten times we would beat.
When you suffer a defeat, the internet is not your best friend. With the 24 hour coverage and breakdown of every game, body language of players and coaches across all traditional news media, online blogs, podcasts, social media etc the effect of one loss can easily be magnified to Hiroshima and Nagasaki levels and as most of us are consumers, it is only a matter of time before the meltdown starts.
One of the key attributes every modern footballer would need to be successful is how to decipher honest criticisms in the cacophony of opinions spread by us on social media and by pundits on TV. This actually should work both ways, when to simply focus on your game and ignore the criticisms and when do you stop believing the hype machine and realize that there is a lot of work needed to be done to improve. This I believe is where the Arsenal team failed last week. The whole buzz was positive coming from pre-season, especially after the Chelsea win and it must have gotten to the players heads, how else do you explain the collective fuckery that we witnessed.
Whilst the loss against West Ham can be tucked in the fluke loss bucket, a further drop in performance against Crystal Palace would start leading to genuine concerns about the mentality of the team. We already know, talent wise this team is nearly complete and translating this talent to results week in week out is the expectation Arsenal fans around the world have. I think Palace are a better team than West Ham, which means for us to get any points, we would need a performance better than what should have given us a result against West Ham. A result we failed to get.
The good news is we have Bellerin and Sanchez back. It is really important we have these two because their sphere of influence when they play for Arsenal exceeds their positions. For Bellerin, he not only offers us pace that would be needed in the battle against Wilfred Zaha, he also offers a lot more going forward compared to Debuchy. One would expect that Pardew would ask Zaha to be more aware of his defensive responsibilities as everyone down that right for us is blessed with pure pace. This is assuming Wenger doesn’t play Aaron Ramsey there instead of Oxlade or Theo.
Sanchez’s reintroduction to the side means we have our main goal threat back and also forces the manager to make a decision with regards to how we shape in midfield. I would prefer a reversal to how we played last season with Santi playing close to Coquelin which would allow Coq do his main job. I feel Coquelin is aware of Wenger’s preference for a defensive midfielder with good passing ability that can start attacks rather than just one good at only stopping them hence the numerous passes he tried against West Ham. This is where he and Santi work well together, I lost count last season of how often Santi picked the ball right in front of our defence and drove us forward. His eye for a good pass, and close control means he is our best option of getting the ball forward to the likes of Ozil or Sanchez.
A key decision for the manager would be Theo and Giroud and everything that can be said about these pair have been already. I think the earlier we appreciate both players for their strengths and play to it rather than dwell on their deficiencies the earlier we will start to get the best use of them. Are we really in a situation where it has to be one or other? Can we play both together? Where does Welbeck fit into this discussion? Where does another signing in the striking department fit in? I am not paid to have answers and I honestly do not know but if I were picking the team against Palace I would have Giroud upfront.
We have another opportunity to start our season again; this opportunity must not slip as it is too early to be far behind especially for mentality of the team. I hope we get the job done; this weekend seems to be a good one for away teams in the premier league so it is best we don’t drop the baton. Some quality points in the bag on a weekend our title rivals go at each other would be a nice have.
Have a nice day buddies, interact with us on the comments section below or on Twitter @canoncrested.com. Follow us, we always follow all Arsenal fans back. If you read this up on till one hour before the game starts you can join our predictions league by registering here . REGISTER
If you live in Nigeria, you can support the site by shopping for Arsenal merchandise from our store by CLICKING HERE